Baking with Melanie Andrews
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Wednesday, 06 December 2017 20:03
This weekend was to be a gastronomic trip for a food addict like myself and it started with Jamie Scott - Masterchef winner 2014. Jamie , age 30 ,grew up in the Dundee , Fyfe area and it made sense to him to start his first venture where he could draw inspiration from . I arrived in the usual pouring rain, synonymous of this country, to be bamboozled as to the correct entry to The Newport Restaurant . Do i enter through the public bar on the left , the back door of the carpark or the Picture gallery on the front? I took an educated guess and leapt through the gallery door at the front , brolly and all ! The lady at the desk directed me through the back of the shop and through into a lovely cosy Dining room with the most amazing views over the Tay . There was a cash register here so i am guessing this was the reception desk . I was taken up a lovely spiral staircase to a further Dining area with an equally stunning view over the Tay . Another level and we are on the floor with the bedrooms. I was given the Nordic room which sounded very Scandanavian and i was expecting a lovely room with a view, but sadly got a main street and a few lamposts . On checking the room out ,as you do , i realised i had ripped sheets on my bed and absolutely no toilet roll in the tiny toilet . This was beginning to feel a bit like Fawlty Towers !! The shower room looked lovely but again very little space and what space there was was very unusual and not giving the impression of space. Anyhow after the slight disapointment of no view i ventured out back down the spiral staircase to the dining area. First in so the roo to myself . The natural wood tables with their natural shape were a lovely asset to the room and very trendy nowadays with this style of dining. The waiters and waitress's were all very efficient and soon i had the menu choice in front of me . I had the choice of a 5 course taster menu or an 8 course. I opted for the 5 course as i knew the eating involved in these tasting menus.Soon i was presented with the first small plate of a carrot tart , nice but not memorable . This was followed by a simly devine half artichoke with a satay sauce. The Beef tartar and coal was not to my liking as it brought back memories of my pregnancy and my craving for eating coal !!!! The razor clam was pleasant and refreshing on the palate and perfectly seasoned. The next few plates were more substantial ,but it wasnt until the treacle bread that i sat up and took notice. This was the most perfectly flavoured bread with the crispiest outer crust and the moist treacle flavour in the inside , not overpowering but just perfect. A triumph. The following course that shouted out to me was the carnoustie pork cooked 2 ways . It was simply bursting with flavour and the pork fat scratching was to die for. The dessert plates that followed were a chocolate frozen ball with not much flavour or much else. The Macaron however was inspired and was a take on a Banoffee pie, with a filling of soft caramel, cream and banana . The Macaron was perfectly baked and this worked for me , excellent. The last dessert was a homemade sticky toffee pudding slice with a mead sauce. It was edible but had no wow factor. All in all ,the dishes presented seemed like they had all been made well in advance and then all placed together on the night .There seemed to be no passion, love or creativity. I did happen to know there was a food festival taking place at The Newport the following day and i just wonder if the emphasis was more on that than on the fee paying dining customer. ? I could be wrong . I also have a pet hate of being served luke warm food and with exception to the sticky toffee pudding , it was all luke warm . I hear all you Chefs now screaming out - It has to be the right temperature for flavour on the tongue etc etc and for the meat to be rested etc etc , but it should also be warmer than luke warm! I may have to go back a 2nd time to confirm this review as i know the standard of food that Jamie is capable of , just wasn't present on this night sadly. Till the next time -Slainte
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Wednesday, 06 December 2017 14:46
Part of my gastronomic tour of Dundee continued with lunch at The Tayberry Restaurant in Broughty Ferry . Chef Adam Newth is also proprietor of this great new addition to Tayside's culinary scene . The Restaurant opened in November 2015 and offers a relaxed fine dining experience without hitting your pocket . I arrived on a brisk cold December lunch time and was immediately taken by the lovely view overlooking the mouth of the Tay . I was welcomed by friendly waiters and shown upstairs to a dining area that showcased the view perfectly. There is also a Dining area on the ground floor also overlooking the water . The menu was fresh and varied and appears to change frequently. To begin with i was offered Chefs lovely homemade bread . I started with an oak smoked salmon tartar which was beautifully and delicately dressed with wasabi which was perfectly balanced with apple and cucumber . The plate looked so attractive and it was a shame to eat it. My next course was a venison pie which was quite simply unique. It was dome shaped ,crusty and glazed on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside . The Venison was braised and had the texture of pulled pork ,lightly spiced and mouthwatering. On the top of this dome was a further little dome shaped black pudding fritter - delightfully light , crisp and bursting with flavour. There was velvety mash potato , winter greens and a jus to loose your self in ,along with seasonal little cubes of vegetables . Simply fabulous . The dessert was every Chefs nightmare - A chocolate fondant .... but this Chef new his stuff . The Chocolate Fondant was perfectly cooked to the last second ,and when cut open, oozed with soft rich chocolate sauce. There was quenelles of sorbet, red honeycombe pieces , spiced apple and quenelles of rich cream to add to my delight. When you order a Chocolate fondant you know that had to be prepared right there and then and i love that this was cooked so well .The beauty about the whole meal was you felt the Chef had been present and it was cooked to order ( as it should be, but not always is) The meal was lovingly prepared and it showed in the presentation and the length of time it took to get to the table. I really dont have a critical thing to say about this great lunch cooked and prepared by a talented young Chef overlooking a stunning coastal location. Onwards and upwards The Tayberry until we meet again- Slainte.
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Monday, 12 June 2017 14:45
SO I FIND MYSELF ON A DREARY ,WET TO THE CORE SUNDAY, AND TWO HOURS TO KILL – LUNCH !
TODAY I TOOK THE LONG SUFFERING HUSBAND AND THE 16 YEAR OLD SUBWAY ADDICT TO GLASGOWS FOODY CORNER NEAR KELVINGROVE. OX AND FINCH IN SAUCHIEHALL STREET HAS JUST GAINED A BIB GOURMAND RATING AND I WAS KEEN TO FIND OUT WHY ? COULD THIS BE THE ONE , THE PLACE THAT CAN ACTUALLY DELIVER ON A QUALITY DESSERT TO FOLLOW A QUALITY MEAL ?
THE TEAM IS HEADED UP BY A FORMER CHEF OF THE MCLAREN FORMULA ONE TEAM – JONATHAN MACDONALD.
ON ENTERING IT WAS VERY MUCH IN KEEPING WITH ALL THE OTHER TRENDY BAR/BISTROS IN GLASGOW.
WE WERE WELCOMED ON ARRIVAL AND SHOWN IMMEDIATELY TO OUR TABLE WHICH WE WERE ADVISED BEFORE DINING, TO VACATE AFTER 2 HOURS .
THE MENUS WERE IN PAPER PRINTED ON OUR TABLE AND ACTED AS A TABLE CLOTH AND SPILLAGE COLLECTOR , ALSO GOOD FOR REMEMBERING TO ORDERING EXTRAS IF STILL HUNGRY.
THE WAITRESS WAS EFFICIENT AND KNOWLEDGEABLE AND WE WERE ADVISED TO ORDER ABOUT 2 OR 3 SMALL DISHES EACH TO START WITH .
THE TABLES ARE VERY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER SO WE WERE ABLE TO SEE THE OTHER DELIGHTS THAT PEOPLE HAD ORDERED BEFORE US , HELPING US CHOOSE FROM A VARIED MENU.
THE OX CHEEK , COCONUT, TAMARIND AND PICKLED SALAD WAS INSPIRED AND SIMPLY MELTED LIKE BUTTER IN THE MOUTH .
THE VERY SIMPLE BASIL , HERITAGE TOMATOES AND BUFFALO MOZZARELLA WAS ALSO EXCEPTIONAL . THE QUALITY OF EACH INGREDIENT SPEAKING VOLUMES FROM THE DISH .
THE SOURDOUGH WAS VERY GOOD BUT I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED NON PIPED/OILED BUTTER TO BE SERVED ALONGSIDE.
THE DUCK CONFIT WAS EXCELLENT AND FELL OF THE BONE . THE LAMB WAS THE MOST TENDER I HAD TASTED IN LAMB AND ALSO BEAUTIFULLY COOKED.
THE DESSERT COURSE WAS THE REAL REASON I WAS HERE AND I ORDERED 3 . I HAD A PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE , A RASPBERRY MILLEFEUILLE AND A CHOCOLATE AND TAHINI CREMEUX , CHERRIES AND SESAME TUILE.
MY SON APPROVED STRONGLY ABOUT HIS UPSIDE DOWN CAKE . MY HUSBAND ENJOYED THE VERSION OF MILLEFEUILLE THAT HE WAS OFFERED AND I ALSO ENJOYED MY CREMEUX. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD TO HAVE HAD REAL CHERRIES ON A CHERRY DESSERT AND I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE HAD A STRONGER FLAVOUR OF CHOCOLATE ON A CHOCOLATE DESSERT , BUT THE SESAME TUILLE WAS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT AS WAS THE CHERRY SORBET STYLE CREAM . A VERY CHEFFY DESSERT !
ALL IN ALL ,IT WAS A GOOD LUNCH IN AN OVERCROWDED FOODY HAVEN IN GLASGOW .
THE NEW AGE THAT WE LIVE IN IS NOW A FOOD AGE . WE EAT OUT MORE THAN EVER BEFORE AND EVERY SECOND SHOP IS A FOOD OUTLET . EVERYBODY IS OR WANTS TO BE A CHEF . TO THIS END WE FIND OURSELVES HAVING TO RAISE THE BAR IN EVERY NEW FOOD VENTURE .
THE PRICE FOR THIS LUNCH WAS JUST SHORT OF £100 WITH ONE BEER AND TAP WATER
I FEEL I HAVE TO SAY I FELT RUSHED SADLY , EVEN AT THIS LUNCH TIME DINING AND NOT BLOWN AWAY .
SO ,ON TO THE NEXT GOURMET DELIGHT JEEVES ,AND DONT SPARE THE HORSES !!
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Sunday, 16 April 2017 14:41
My quest for Scotland's Best dessert, led me to Tom Kitchens Restaurant in the capital city, Edinburgh today . The Kitchin is located in part of an old converted whisky warehouse in Edinburgh's stylish waterfront.
I had been looking forward to Toms place for a while now as he is a Chef I know quite a lot about but never had the privilege of dining at any of his Restaurants.
Tom opened The Kitchin in 2006 along with his wife Michaela and between them they have an impressive CV ,not to be sniffed at !
Tom is from Edinburgh and has worked with some of the greats of the culinary world , including Pierre Koffman and his 3 Star La Tante Claire in London.
Tom is also Scotland's youngest Michelin Starred Chef/Proprietor and earned his star at the tender age of 29.
He may be more well known to you and I from appearing as a judge on the Masterchef Final on BBC.
Tom's influence and style is typically French using the very best of Scotland's larder -How could you fail ?
The philosophy is a simple one – From Nature to Plate .
I arrived early to a very slick , efficient team organising my every move from door to table.
The restaurant feels warm and inviting and the open kitchen allows the diner to watch the amazing creations taking shape.
I was served with an absolutely perfectly baked miniature sour dough bread ,already scored and steaming hot with a quenelle of soft butter . Being a baker, I was especially impressed with this bread as it was as light and crispy as you can get in a sour dough ,which can be hard on the nashers if not executed well.
My first course was brilliant , 3 x large plump,fresh Orkney hand dived scallops served In the shell with puff pastry encasing the rim. Once opened expertly by the waiter ,the creamy vermouth sauce and aroma of the scallops was jaw dropping. The flavour can only be described as the taste of the sea – absolutely wonderful.
My second course, I thought ,would have to be brilliant to beat that and it was , Medallions of perfectly pink Roe Deer served with the best tasting pink soft Rhubarb, root vegetable quenelles and a dark sticky red wine sauce – oh lord the flavours of everything were just so intense that I was in heaven.
My third course was dessert and Tom in his wisdom decided to go full throttle on this course and deliver me all of the desserts on the menu to sample . These were not sample portions so this was no mean feat . I had to eat them all you understand or I would have offended this great Chef .
First up was the warm Apple tart which was not unlike a Tarte tatin . It was simply devine with little apple pieces which had been melon balled and dipped in caramel. The caramel was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They were arranged around a pastry circle and served with quenelles of vanilla ice cream and hot caramel sauce.
Next up on the hit list was an unusual dessert of Buckthorn consomme served around a farm yoghurt Panna cotta and Granny apple sorbet . The Panna cotta was perfectly formed and texture was excellent ,the apple sorbet was sharp and full of flavour and the consomme was bitter and different to anything i have tasted before.
The Chocolate souffle with the chocolate sauce and chocolate ice cream was my dream dessert. The chocolate was quite obviously a high cocoa solid, dark and grainy . The souffle light and well risen and the chocolate ice cream smooth and like velvet on the palate .
But my favourite of the night came in the shape of the Knockraich crowdie cheesecake served with farm rhubarb ,rhubarb sorbet and pink pralines .
The rhubarb was earthy and softly poached , pink and bursting with flavour , definitely the star of the plate .
The cheesecake was light and full of creamy flavour . A little pink cheesecake macaron perched gently on the top of the crisp praline on the top. It was quite simply a work of art not only to look at but to enjoy.
I was offered, at the end of this extravaganza of desserts, a further Chocolate and caramel tart but had to take a doggy bag on this occasion , what a let down Melanie!
What i came away with, at the end of this evening, was the reminder of how our food should taste . The earthy full flavour of fresh organic rhubarb , the taste of the sea oozing from the giant scallops , the intense flavour from the Roe deer and the Rich , dark and bitter flavour of the excellent chocolate .
The price of this Michelin star Restuarant in the heart of the city , offering simply excellent dining, was very reasonable and affordable compared to most i have sampled so far. The gratuity once again was not added to the bill and left to the diner to decide on whether to tip or not . I was very impressed all round. Slainte
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Sunday, 09 April 2017 15:19
THE LOCATION FOR TODAYS DINING REVIEW WAS THE ELEGANT GLENEAGLES HOTEL NEAR AUCHTERARDER,PERTHSHIRE. FIRST BUILT IN 1910 BY DONALD MATHESON TO RESEMBLE A PALACE AND TO PROVIDE LEISURE TO THE TOURISTS IN THE FORM OF GOLF.
IT OFFICIALLY OPENED ITS DOORS AS THE HOTEL WE KNOW IT TODAY IN 1924.
IT WAS DESCRIBED THEN AS “ THE RIVIERA IN THE HIGHLANDS “ AND DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE AND REMAINS DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE TO THIS DAY.
I FIRST REMEMBER VISITING WHEN THE JACKIE STEWART SHOOTING SCHOOL OPENED IN 1985 AND THIS STILL REMAINS TODAY AS THE GLENEAGLES SHOOTING SCHOOL.
A LOT HAS EVOLVED OVER THE NEAR CENTURY AT THIS MAGNIFICENT PALACIAL HOTEL , NOT LEAST THE CELEBRATED SCOTS BORN CHEF , ANDREW FAIRLIE, TAKING OVER THE REIGNS IN 2001 WITH HIS OWN RESTUARANT WITHIN GLENEAGLES ITSELF.
ANDREW FAIRLIE WAS BORN IN PERTH AND HAS TRAINED WITH THE BEST FRENCH CHEFS AS A YOUNG MAN, GIVING HIM THE INFLUENCE TO CREATE IMAGINATIVE FRENCH CLASSICS WITH A TRADITONAL SCOTTISH FLAIR.
HIS LISTS OF CREDITS ARE ENDLESS, INCLUDING COOKING FOR THE QUEEN, NOMINATED ONE OF THE WORLDS TOP 10 RESTUARANTS IN THE WORLD, INAUGRAL SCOTTISH CHEF OF THE YEAR, RELAIS & CHATEAUX CHEF DU MONDE IN 2011 AND SO ON AND SO ON AND SO ON. ANDREW FAIRLIE
THE EPONYMOUS RESTUARANT IS AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS WITHIN GLENEAGLES HOTEL AND BOASTS SCOTLAND'S ONLY 2 MICHELIN STARS.
TONIGHT WAS EXCEPTIONAL IN A SUNKEN DINING ROOM, WHICH REMINDED ME A BIT OF THE TITANIC ERA WHERE OPULANCE AND STYLE WERE ALL THE RAGE.
THE SERVICE AND SOMELIERS WERE EXTRAORDINARILY EFFICIENT AND FRIENDLY AND NOT AT ALL PRETENTIOS ,SO RIGHT AWAY YOU ARE PUT AT EASE ,AS IT SHOULD BE WHEN YOU ARE EATING GOOD FOOD.
A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED AND CRAFTED MENU WAS HANDED TO ME TO PERUSE WHILE DELICATE LITTLE AMUSE BOUCHE JUST KEPT ON COMING,ONE LITTLE BITE SIZED DELIGHT AFTER ANOTHER .
I ORDERED ONE OF ANDREW FAIRLIES FAVOURITE – HOME SMOKED LOBSTER WITH LIME AND HERB BUTTER. WHAT CAN I SAY – THE COLOUR, THE FLAVOUR, THE TEXTURE , THE PRESENTATION ALL WERE UNLIKE ANYTHING I HAVE EVER EATEN BEFORE- JUST SUBTLY SMOKED AND PRESENTED PERFECTLY READY TO EAT FROM THE SHELL . MY FAVOURITE STARTER SO FAR IN THIS MARATHON GOURMET EXPERIENCE .
NEXT FOLLOWED THE CARDINAL SIN OF ANOTHER FISH COURSE, THE ROAST LOIN OF MONKFISH , WHITE ASPARAGUS AND CRAB VELOUTE. AGAIN I HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED SUCH INTENSITY OF FLAVOUR FROM ANY MEAL I HAVE EATEN . THE MONKFISH WAS COOKED TO PERFECTION, THE LITTLE GEMS OF JERSEY ROYALS AND ASPARAGUS ALONG WITH THE PERFECT VELOUTE WAS PERFCTION.
MY DESSERT WAS A PISTACHIO AND VANILLA MILLE-FEUILLE WITH POACHED RHUBARB AND RHUBARB SORBET.
QUITE SIMPLY A NUTTY FLAVOUR FROM THE PASTRY SHEETS WITH A DELICATE SWEET PINK RHUBARB AND RHUBARB SORBET , DECORATED WITH LITTLE PEARLS OF RHUBARB , FRESH LEAVES AND EDIBLE FLOWERS. I AM SURE THE POPPING CANDY WILL APPEAL TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION AS A BIT OF THEATRE.
I PREFER A VIEW, IF HONEST, WHEN DINING AND THE ROOM FELT A LITTLE ENCLOSED FOR ME , BUT THATS ME JUST BEING PICKY.
LASTLY, LITTLE CHOCOLATES AND LEMON CAKES WERE TOO HARD TO RESIST AND ENDED WHAT I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE AS A PERFECT MEAL . ANDREW FAIRLIE AND HIS 2 MICHELIN STAR RESTUARANT WITHIN GLENEAGLES MORE THAN LIVED UP TO HIS ENVIABLE REPUTATION. SUBLIME AND DEFINATELY WILL BE HARD TO BEAT . SLAINTE
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Sunday, 12 February 2017 15:48
The subject of my review today is Martin Wisharts Restaurant at Cameron House ,Loch Lomond. Martin was born in Edinburgh and has a further Martin Wishart Restaurant in the city- Eponymous. He started working in kitchens when he was only 15 and trained with the best including Albert Roux, Marco Pierre White and my favourite Nick Nairn . He opened Eponymous in Edinburgh in 1999 , his cookery school in 2007 and Loch Lomond in 2008. Tonight though ,and since 2011 approximately, the Head Chef at Cameron House is mostly the multi talented Graeme Cheevers. Graeme worked with Martin honing his skills at Cameron House as sous chef before stepping up and taking the role as Head Chef. This young Chef is only 28 and to produce food on this level is credit to Martin ,but most importantly to Graeme .
Anyhow back to the experience. I arrived into the main entrance of the stunning Cameron House to a beautiful reception area ,synonymous to a huge hunting lodge in the highlands , stunning and bursting with warmth from an open fire in the hallway . A lovely warm welcome at the Restaurant and we were seated in no time. I passed the most impressive trolley of cheeses on the way in which is a great marketing ploy and worked with me 100%.
When the beautiful slate plate of the sea arrived as a an amuse bouche I knew this was going to be something very special . Little open shells placed tenderly on rock salt and ice, squid ink macarons with caviar ,shrimps and so many other delicately placed jewels of the sea just so pretty and crying out for me to pick up. Totally and utterly a masterpiece ! I opted for the 8 course Taster menu and the first course was a stunning plate of Bergamot marinated sea bream with Oysters hidden in little pearls of bursting citrus and decorated beautifully again ,just too pretty to disturb . Second course was an orkney scallop – huge and bursting with flavours of the the sea, pancetta relish and potato mousseline . But for me the star of this particular dish was a little bon bon of bacon jam , salty and a stunning flavour to accompany the scallop. Third course was a Foie Gras Mousse which looked like an artists easel , with bitter little leaves , seeds and crushed walnut crumb in an olorosso sherry cream – a different level altogether of skill technique , artistry and talent . Fourth course was again absolutely genius , a small fillet of lemon sole with sprouts, parnip cream and a cappacino foam . I simply don't have the words to describe the sheer delicate flavour of this dish and the beauty of and appearance of the cucumber slaw artisticly swirled at the side of the dish – just beautiful. Fifth course was a roasted squab pigeon which was so good I actually forgot to take a picture and had it devoured before coming back to reality ,and the reason I was here in the first place . Sixth course was barbecued Black Angus Beef which I suspect was waterbathed ( A pet hate of mine ) but actually had been seared beautifully and it worked well, along with little morsels of bone marrow, caramelised onions and celeriac . Cheese was the next delight and what a delight . Great to see great big wedges of all nationalities of cheese and very informative waiting staff delighting in the expert knowledge of each one. Would have liked to have seen Homemade bread or biscuits to go along with the cheese instead of the usual offerings ,but the cheese I suppose, quite rightly is the star of the show.
Two desserts to follow and four hours later, which felt like no time at all ,and I was in heaven. I was here for the dessert course and there was two on this taster menu .
First was a chestnut parfait and apple mousse with a whole plate full of little taste bud bursting delights decoratively placed in a bowl . I can not fault any of the litle bites on the plate for texture , taste or flavour but just not my idea of a dessert . The second desert was mind blowing and was more in keeping with a Michelin Star Restaurant such as this . I am a confirmed chocoholic and this was right up my street . Full of skill , artistry , flavours and textures was the Valrhona Chocolate dense style delice with pistachio and marinated cherries , cherry sorbet and dark chocolate aero pieces . This was a grown up dessert and not for the faint hearted . Not the cheapest meal I have ever had and the service charge, which is not optional, bumps the price up considerably . Did I feel it was worth the price , absolutely no question ,and when you appreciate good food ,prepared well and with the best of ingredients served with expertly knowledgable waiters then the price should not be an issue . I also dont mind paying to have my table for the duration of the evening instead of being pushed out after 1 or 2 hours to allow other diners in . I absolutely adored this meal and the whole ambience and will be back very very soon. This whole dining experience was on a different level to any I have experienced to date .
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Sunday, 05 February 2017 15:34
The Gannet Restaurant is located in Finnieston , Glasgow . This area of Glasgow is chock a block with eateries and you are spoilt for choice if dining out, living, or working around here . It's almost become the dining destination of the West and quite rightly so .
The Gannet looks very trendy and inviting from the outside , but this wasn't always the way it looked pre 2012 . This was an old tenement building badly needing some TLC until the two peters and Ivan took over the reigns and transformed it onto one of Glasgow's thriving “Best places to eat List “
A very warm welcome awaits you at this Urban style Restaurant ,with dull ,moody lighting and stone walls .
I was curious about the name – The Gannet ,and never found out the reason behind the name if any but its on my to do list .
I was sat at a table overlooking the barman expertly shaking every cocktail and pouring every real ale known to man before our very informative waiter overheard my cries for help . ( Forgot my reading glasses ) He promptly produced a large wicker basket full of reading glasses for me to choose from , now that's service !
I loved how the menu simply stated exactly what they were offering without any pretentious additions of the English language ,that many may be unsure of .
I also loved the fact that absolutely all the beers offered were Scottish real ales in Bottle form (No draught lager/beer here . The Scottish Artisan Beers and lagers are absolutely brilliant and not shouted about as they should be – Truly loved the waiters knowledge and enthusiasm for these beers too.
I started with Scottish seared Scallops with housemade Haggis and celeriac puree . The scallops tasted like they had just been hauled out the sea and the haggis was exceptionally light and not too strong flavoured ( As can be with homemade haggis) – Wonderful !
My main was described as slow cooked Border lamb and the shoulder which was perfectly crispy , had a beautiful succulent flavour . It was served with a wild garlic cannelloni,fennel puree and a cockle salsify.The Chefs here certainly know how to make a plate look attractive and as I always say – You eat with the eye !
The main attraction for me, and what I was actually here to review was the desert course .
I chose the milk chocolate feuilletine with orange and whisky ice-cream .Not exactly what I was expecting in a feuilletine but it was quite simply one of the best desserts I have had so far in this process . The textures , flavours and crunchy nuts and pralines built into a dense chocolate brick were absolutely right up my street . The whisky and orange ice-cream did not have a strong flavour of either whisky or orange but in fact went very well with the feuilletine .I have ranked it top score in my journey so far. It was a well executed dessert which I would go back tomorrow for in a heartbeat .
Great Chefs , Service , surroundings , atmosphere and price – What's not to like ?
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Sunday, 05 February 2017 14:59
Today's Lunch extravaganza came in the form of The Cellar in Anstruther . Anstruther is located in the heart of the East Neuk. For those of you not familiar with this area , its in the kingdom of Fife . Anstruther is only 10 miles from St Andrews and boasts many a reason to visit , none less than being one of the biggest and prettiest fishing villages on the East coast . It also has Award winning beaches ( If you are brave enough to face the biting east cold wind) . Surprisingly us scots are hardy, as there are more ice-cream shops here than some sunny tourist destinations !
Anyhow as usual I am sidetracked by this lovely little seaside village which is extraordinarily well kept, clean , peaceful and proud. I loved everything about Anstruther.
The Cellar is a Michelin Star Restaurant which has been around for about 40 years as a leading restaurant in the East Neuk , but in 2014 a local Anstruther man -Billy Boyter and his family took over ownership .
Billy has a 15 year history of working in some of Scotland's best Restuarant's and now has achieved Michelin Star status with his own, and more importantly back to where he is from – Anstruther.
On entering through tiny brick lined cobbled arch ways it was not unlike dining on the Amalfi coast in Italy – Tiny little nooks and crannies packed with Scottish artifacts adorning all the maze like entrance . A roaring fire was awaiting me where I sat and waited to be seated in the main dining room. The dining room is brick , candlelit , and felt just like a Cellar but warm and tastefully decorated . I absolutely loved everything about the décor , ambience and temperature of this room, not tightly packed together like sardines either.
The lunch menu consisted of 5 courses and was very reasonably priced , again not pretentious .
I started with a mouth watering Smoked Haddock and potato Mousse which was wrapped in the lightest crisp , like a spring roll shape only a thousand times better to taste .
The second course was an old favourite of mine – A Venison Haggis bon bon with a slither of pickled pear .
The main was simply exquisite and made my taste buds dance around madly – Pollock with a brown butter sauce which was served with pea puree and crispy kale ,Kelp and soft leeks – I loved the fact that all the different components on the plate were all easily recognisable and not drowned out by one another – brilliance no less!
The dessert was not my idea of a dessert ,but I simply can not fault all the ingredients that married together expertly on the plate . There was Chocolate cream as a base Jerusalem artichoke ice cream and calamansi ( Small citrus fruit similar to a lime/Lemon ) , lovely white chocolate aero type pieces and crisp wafers to decorate. A Very Michelin dessert , light and refreshing for a lunch menu .
All in all an excellent lunch and one restaurant I will definitely return too when I am off duty !
- Category: hospitality reviews
- Published: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 15:55
TThe Peat Inn is a charming little Restaurant with rooms located about 6 miles from the golfing town of St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. The capital city,Edinburgh is about an hours drive and Dundee about 30 minutes . Its a great location for exploring all of the above in Michelin style. The village of Peat Inn actually derives its name from the Inn itself which has stood in its present spot for about 250 years . The Peat Inn has always had a great reputation for hospitality and the town growing up around the Inn itself is a lovely historical story . Anyhow I digress as usual , nowadays the Inn is owned and run by husband and wife team Geoffrey and Katherine Smeddle. Geoffrey is the Award winning Michelin Star Chef/Patron at the heart of the Kitchen.
I had eaten at The Peat Inn around 10 years ago and its one of the Restaurant's I talk about to this day,so the anticipation was high .
I was welcomed in to the cozy reception room with a welcoming roaring log fire before stunning looking little hors d'oevres were served .
Next i was taken to my table passing a further two unique dining rooms ,to be seated at a lovely open bright dining room with a stunning view over the Fife countryside . Alpacas were grazing moodily in the background on this very foggy cold winters day.
Amuse Bouche was simply sublime – A venison haggis with neeps and the creamiest tatties , oh my !!. There was a huge basket of simply brilliant sourdough breads and raisin malted bread and this was before my starter …..
My starter plate was Home smoked monkfish with avocado cream and ginger soya , almost like a tartar but more creative – refreshingly light and you could taste the sea.
My second course was the 12 hour slow braised beef with Mousseline potato,parsnips,pearl onions and a red wine jus. Can I just begin by saying,anything I write about this main course will not do it justice,not even close. The beef was blackened and fell from the fork like butter , the taste ,flavour and texture the like of which I have never tasted before . I honestly will now talk about this dish for the rest of my life – pure genius.
But I was here for the dessert course and what was to follow did not let the rest of the meal down ,Hot mandarin souffle with dark chocolate and rum sauce .
The souffle was as light as a feather and as perfectly formed and risen as I have ever seen. The theatre was provided by the lovely waitress who opened the souffle expertly without deflating and pouring in the most decadent hot chocolate. Simply brilliant execution of a difficult dessert to pull of to perfection .I finished with handmade chocolates which again were the best I have tasted to date . I simply cant recommend this Restaurant highly enough . A thoroughly deserving Michelin Star to a Chef who creates and makes absolutely everything you see and taste by hand . Long may you reign.